Editor’s Page

Summer 2009

Dear Readers

We were sorry to hear about Marilyn French’s death this past May. She was one ofPersimmon Tree’s first contributors, sharing with us an excerpt (available in the Archive) from her yet-to-be published novel, The Love Children. A novelist, historian, and essayist, she spoke out for women’s rights during a long writing career that began in 1977. We are grateful for Marilyn’s courage and vision, and we will miss her.

Persimmon Tree showcases the outstanding artistic work of women over sixty. Two short years ago, when we began the magazine, we expected to receive most of our submissions from younger women in this age group. What a surprise, then, when women in their 80s and 90s started sending us a lot of excellent material.

I, for one, have changed my view of aging because of this. I used to carry a measure of doubt about the possibility of having a full life in the future. It seemed reasonable to think that my productivity would fade, and this would be followed by a sadly diminished existence.

These older women show me that it doesn’t need to be this way. There are huge numbers of them out there continuing to create. What wisdom they offer! I, at 69, continually learn from them. They have knowledge about the big issues: What gives our lives meaning? What can we expect in the years ahead? And their skill is honed, their talent obvious, and their stories worth hearing.

In this issue we have a treat for our readers, a series of pieces that take us through the later decades of life. We even found someone to write one about becoming one hundred. We contributing editors have found that moving from one decade to the next is a potent time. There is often a sense of loss, and the gain isn’t obvious, at least at first. But we move forward anyhow with as much verve as we can. It helps to know what it’s like from people who are already there-thus this section.

Also in this issue we introduce two new exciting additions that will enliven your reading experience: a “Share” button in the list of links, and a place where you can add your comments at the end of each piece.

—Click the “Share” button and explore what you can do with it. You can easily print the piece you’re reading, and you can email a friend. For those who are social networkers, you can interface with My Face and other sites here. If you especially like a piece, please do pass it on to others.

—We invite you to add your comments at the end of pieces that especially move you. You don’t have to write anything longer than a simple “thank you” or “I disagree.” Or you can take a little more space and expand on your own thoughts.

Finally, we want to alert you that we’ll soon be sending out an email request to fill out aPersimmon Tree survey. We need more information about our readership, and this will give it to us. Your responses will help us make the magazine even better over the long run, so we hope you’ll participate.

Best wishes for a good summer,

Nan Gefen


Nan Fink Gefen was the founding publisher of Tikkun magazine in 1985 and the founding editor of Persimmon Tree magazine in 2007. She is the author of Stranger in the Midst (Basic Books, 1997) and Discovering Jewish Meditation (Jewish Lights, 2nd edition 2011), and her fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in literary journals and magazines. She currently is working on a novel, Woman on a Wire.